Inbound travel measures adjusted

April 22, 2022

The Government announced today that starting May 1, non-Hong Kong residents will be allowed to enter Hong Kong from overseas places and the route-specific flight suspension mechanism will be suitably adjusted.


It said the decision was made in view of the latest development of the COVID-19 epidemic situation, taking into account the recent volume of inbound passenger flow, the number of imported cases, the city's capacity in tackling the local epidemic as well as overall socio-economic needs.


The Government's Inter-departmental Steering Committee & Command Centre pointed out that there has been an increase in the daily number of inbound travellers since the lifting of the place-specific flight suspension for nine overseas places on April 1.


The daily average number of arrivals rose from fewer than 300 between January and March to about 1,200 since April.


Nevertheless, the proportion of imported cases has dropped from about 3% in the January-March period to about 1% since April.


Considering public health factors such as the local epidemic development and capacity in tackling it, and balancing the expectation from the public as well as various sectors of the community to resume social and economic activities, the steering committee considers that there is room to suitably adjust inbound control measures on the premise of maintaining the current measures guarding against the importation of cases and manageable risks.


From May 1, non-Hong Kong residents who have stayed in overseas places in the past 14 days will be allowed to enter Hong Kong and be subject to the same boarding, quarantine and testing arrangements as Hong Kong residents.


They must comply with all stringent inbound testing and quarantine requirements, including being fully vaccinated, undergoing a pre-departure nucleic acid test with a negative result and the booking of designated quarantine hotels (DQHs).


Upon arrival, they will be subject to the test-and-hold arrangement at the airport and then transferred to DQHs by designated transport to undergo compulsory quarantine and multiple testings.


Meanwhile, the triggering thresholds for the route-specific flight suspension mechanism will also be adjusted with effect from May.


If there are five or more passengers, or 5% or more of the total number of passengers on board the same flight, whichever is higher, that test positive for COVID-19 upon arrival, the airline's passenger flights of that route from the same origin place will be prohibited from landing in Hong Kong for five days.


The five-day landing prohibition will also be applicable to a passenger flight that has three or more passengers on board who test positive for the virus upon arrival and at least one who fails to comply with the requirements specified under the Prevention & Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances & Travellers) Regulation (Cap 599H).


Additionally, the steering committee considers that the requirement of rapid antigen tests (RATs) can be added to the test-and-hold arrangement at the airport after reviewing the current operation.


Under the additional requirement which is expected to be implemented in early May, inbound travellers will have their specimens collected for RATs when they undergo nucleic acid tests.


The steering committee explained that the move aims to ensure earlier detection of arrivals that have been infected so as to arrange for isolation, while those with a negative RAT result must continue to abide by the closed-loop management and will be transferred by designated transport to DQHs to wait for their nucleic acid test results.

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